Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Christmas Project: Family Cookbook

My coworker Kathy just gave me the recipe for one of my favorite cookies. It's for Fairy Drops: wafer thin sugar cookies that just crisply melt in your mouth.

Kathy brings these in every once in a while. They are about 4" around, but because they are so thin, I usually eat about 5 or 6 every time I pass the kitchen. In fact, I can't help myself!

It reminds me of when I was in second grade. I used to sneak in and eat several little marinated mushrooms from the tiny Cara Mia jar in the refrigerator. I knew they were expensive, so I would creep in like a thief (ok, so I was a thief). The point is, however, that it was a compulsion. It was one of the very few things in my life that I felt powerless to control. I guess that you would call it an "addiction." Ha. Mushroom Addiction. (I guess I needed Mushroom-aholics Anonymous. Ok, I'm done torturing you with bad jokes...back to the topic at hand.)

This morning, I was lucky enough to find a recipe card on my office chair for those heavenly Fairy Drops. When I went to thank my friend, she was explaining how she injured herself getting that recipe for me. Opening her bag, she pulled out a worn, yellowing paperback cookbook and showed me how one of the staples inside was pointing up, thus giving her the cut on her finger. (She sacrificed so that I could have light-as-a-cloud sweetness!)

The cookbook was a family cookbook that two of her aunts had put together. Photocopied, along with some pictures, are "90 Great family recipes." What a treasure. Some of the recipes show their age, such as the one I noticed that calls for "two cubes oleo." Adorned with a photo of one of the ladies cooking at the stove, big smile on her face, the cookbook is called Down-home California Cookin'.

And what is the first thing that pops into my mind? I need to make a cookbook with family recipes! I want that! So, it is only November 29...hypothetically enough time to put together a little gem and share it with the rest of my family. I don't know if they'll appreciate them or not, but I will. It will be a snapshot in time, showing what we were all cooking in 2005.

In 2010 and 2020, I want to look back and laugh at how much bacon we ate and how we all got sucked into the latest food fads. I want to reminisce about my young son's favorite foods. And I want a little treasury of best recipes that my son, sister, and hey, maybe my grandchildren will be using to recreate those dishes they grew up loving.

Food, to me, is about several things. It is about taste. It is about fun experimentation. It is about broadening your horizons. And it is about tradition.

I think my new tradition will be the family cookbook.

Be sure to join us for this Friday's Holiday Cookie Exchange!


Kristi said...

What a cool idea. I was just talking about this with my extended family over Thanksgiving, and how I wanted to copy down on paper all the wonderful Italian recipes my grandma and great-aunt have swimming around in their heads. I can't wait to hear about how yours turns out. Mine, however, will have to wait until next year.
And I'm powerless when I get near a certain food too: bread. My kryptonite is a lot worse than yours!

Dawn said...

That would be great. I especially love ethnic recipes. My mom is asian and without her being present, I can't really cook the food as well. And trying to find a cookbook that matches the taste you're used to can be impossible!

So, if we are both affected by food kryptonite, does that mean we are Superwomen?

Alanna said...

It's very doable! I posted about ours here. It was a wonderful experience, one I'd highly recommend!

Dawn said...

ak, thanks for the link, I took a browse around. I like the theme of your blog, all veggies, everyday. I agree, we don't eat enough of them. I definitely think that I'll do the cookbook idea...now just to pick the recipes!

Kristi said...

Oh, I would love to be Superwoman with you. We could eat all the bread and mushrooms we wanted, and not gain a single pound. Sign me up!

michelle said...

Wow! That's crazy - just a few nights ago I had this same idea because I will be going home for Christmas and my grandmother asked if my boyfriend and I would come over for dinner, and that she doesn't really cook anymore, but she wanted to cook for us. I was thinking how I should get the recipes from her and my other grandmother that I remember from my childhood before they disappear forever. I think this is such a wonderful idea - I can't wait to see how your turns out!

Your thanksgiving sounds like it was a really great time, especially with those pomegrantinis! And that squash casserole sounds like it would be perfect comfort food! Anything is good with that much bacon in it!

Dawn said...

kristi, let me just say...LOL! Thanks for a smile first thing on a workday.

Michelle, that is so funny you were also talking about this. I will keep everyone updated on the progress of the recipe book. I think it is such a great idea. I've already commissioned my sister to pitch in her recipes. We do most of the cooking in our family, so I'm sure we'll have the most contributions, but almost everyone in the family has that ONE special dish that they make best. I hope that I'll get those recipes for the book.